U.S. economy adds 146,000 jobs, unemployment rate falls to 7.7 percent
Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, noted that hiring by private companies was actually better in October than the government first thought. The overall job figures were revised down for October because governments themselves cut about 38,000 more jobs than was first estimated.
The U.S. economy grew at a solid 2.7 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. But many economists say growth is slowing to a 1.5 percent rate in the October-December quarter, largely because of the storm and threat of the fiscal cliff.
The storm held back consumer spending and income, which drive economic growth. Consumer spending declined in October, the government said. And work interruptions caused by Sandy reduced wages and salaries that month by about $18 billion at an annual rate.
Still, many say economic growth could accelerate next year if the fiscal cliff is avoided. The economy is also expected to get a boost from efforts to rebuild in the Northeast after the storm.
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